I remember that pleasant moment when my father took me to the 2005 MotoGP at Laguna Seca at the age of 13. Here I felt the adventure of moto-racing that led to my love for bikes. Since then, I have been a big moto fan and have the experience to share about bikes. One of these, which most bikers can relate to, is the joy of having the right shocks on the bike. With the wrong ones, you can set out to engage in a fun cross-country ride but instead come back with a painful back.
That is why when I buy a new motorcycle, the first thing I customize is the shocks. Being an outdoor fan, I always have a simple test to evaluate the quality of my shocks. I will usually take the bike to an off-road site and test its limit. I want shocks that take away the harsh punishment of bumping up and down, and instead, offer me the guarantee of great comfort.
The decision on what types of shocks to buy is influenced by several factors. The most important of these is related to issues on where, how, and what you ride. The issue of the money you are willing to spend will also greatly influence this decision. To help you make an informed choice, I will review some of the best shocks available on the market.
Also Read: Best Auto Tuner for Harley Davidson in 2022
Perhaps you will be interested in a complete kit assembled to replace your stock touring shocks with height-adjustable air shocks:
- CONDITION - Aftermarket 100% Brand New! This is a complete kit assembled to replace your stock touring shocks with height-adjustable air shocks.
- FEATURE - Fully Collapsed approx. 9.64inches(24.5cm); fully extended 14.17inches(36cm). This kit will allow you to lower your bike 2 to 3 inches with all of the air released. The air it up to stock ride height for a smooth ride in a matter of seconds.
- FUNCTION - System uses all nickel-plated brass high-flow high-pressure push-to-connect fittings throughout the entire system, and a manifold-style dump valve block for optimum performance. This kit includes all of the components for a fully functional, fully height adjusta ble rear air suspension.
- FITMENT - Fits for Harley Touring models Road King Street Glide Road Glide Electra Glide Ultra Classic 1994-2023
- PACKAGE INCLUDED - 1 set Air Ride Kit, Installation Instructions Included
Review of the Best Shocks for Harley Davidson
- Progressive Suspension 944-4002UT – Premium Choice
- BURLY B28-1201B – Budget Choice
- Progressive Suspension 412-4062B – Good Choice
- Progressive Suspension 422-4002C – Top Pick
- BURLY B28-1006
- HD 772 Blackline Ohlins
- Factory Spec FS-04505
- HD 022 Ohlins
In this section, we engage in an analysis of the best shocks that you should consider adding to your shopping list.
1. Progressive Suspension 944-4002UT – Best Rear Shocks for Harley Davidson Touring
The progressive brand is best known for making Harley-Davidson shocks. In this respect, they have not disappointed with their 944-4002UT. From my experience, it is one of the best shocks in the progressive suspension for the Harley Davidson series. These ultra-touring shocks come equipped with standard-duty springs up to 250 pounds. This makes them suitable for bikes whose usage includes carrying passengers or standard loads. They also guarantee the rider some ultimate comfort and functionality.
In terms of suitability, they have been designed to make use of every suspension travel offered by the complete-length stock units. But with a ride height that is one inch lower compared to the other stock air shocks. The amazing thing about this lowered height is a feature that is consistent both when the bike is on its stands and when riding it. Based on the Progressive Suspension 944 ultra-low reviews I have read online, the lowered height also offers you more stability when making sharp bends and also when packing your bike.
Another unique design feature in the Progressive Suspension 944 ultra touring shocks is their incorporation of the patented innovative frequency sensing technology (FST). The functionality behind this technology is that this screen can effectively detect the frequency of a bump and automatically respond by adjusting the damping for better-quality rides. Further, the ring at the shock’s top can conveniently be adjusted using hands without the need for extra equipment. This effectively makes the 944-4002UT a more user-friendly shock in comparison to others.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- The design of this product includes frequency sensing technology that automatically adjusts damping for improved comfort
- The preload spring can easily be adjusted by hand
- The shock can easily be installed without the help of a professional as it comes with a manual
- Lowered height for improved stability when parking or going around bends
- The shocks may prove to be ineffective when there is an unequal distribution of weight on the motorcycle
2. BURLY B28-1201B – Harley Davidson Air Pump for Shocks
If simplicity is your game, these shocks are meant for you. They are 1.5 inches shocks for the rear of the motorcycle. This height makes the shocks to be able to adjust the height of motorcycles downwards by up to 2.5 inches.
The ability to lower the height of a rider makes them increases the stability of the machine on the road. They decrease the center of gravity so that it may be easy for someone to turn on sharp edges smoothly. The low center of gravity also makes it easy to carry heavy weights on a Harley that has these shocks installed.
The shocks are black, which makes them blend in with any motorcycle. They also fit Harley Davidson models that were developed from 2004 to 2011. Therefore, you may be unlucky if yours is one of the latest models because they may not fit perfectly the way they do with older models. And with an 8.5 pounds weight, they are very light, hence easy for both men and women to use on their motorcycles.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- They are light
- They have a very simple design
- They are easy to install
- They may not be compatible with the newest Harley Davidson models
3. Progressive Suspension 412-4062B – Replacement Rear Suspension Shock
I am a big fan of Progressive Suspension 412 because of the features that the shocks offer. As I already mentioned earlier, the main reason I love this brand is because of the expertise they have shown in developing high-quality and reliable motorcycle parts for Harley Davidson models. As a lover of Harley, I would vote for these shocks just because they are made by Progressive, a company that is knowledgeable about Davidson’s motor parts.
The body of the pair of shocks is made of steel, which is a durable material that can last for years without experiencing any damage. The steel on these shocks can last even longer because they have double walls that make them even stronger. Don’t you love it when you are assured of safety while riding? I love this, and it is the reason I wake up and ride my motorcycle every day. If I did not have an assurance of safety, there is no way I would ever ride comfortably.
These shocks can give you consistent damping because their valves are charged with nitrogen, which makes it possible to withstand high pressure. It also enables the motorcycle to be stable at high velocity. If you love riding at high speed, then these suspensions should be your best friend. However, they weigh 8.8 pounds, which may be higher than most shocks.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- They have double steel walls that last long
- They are very efficient at high speed
- They distribute weight evenly, hence making the motorcycle stable
- They are a bit heavier than regular shocks
4. Progressive Suspension 422-4002C – Chrome Adjustable Heavy Duty Rear Suspension Shock
Progressive Suspension 422 is a mix of class, beauty, and efficiency. The shocks have all features that make them a favorite choice for my rider friends and me. The finishing on these shocks is plated with chrome, which makes them classy and beautiful. You can easily fall in love with a Harley that has these shocks fitted on because of its attractiveness.
They also give you the freedom to select a riding height. You can adjust the height of the rear by two inches up and down. Therefore, depending on your mood and the terrain that you are riding on, the height adjustment comes in handy. This, coupled with the spring preload, makes these shocks more efficient than you could think.
The preload settings allow you to determine the weight that you will be carrying. This includes the importance of the rider and the passenger. If the weight increases, you will need to adjust the settings to enable the shocks to carry the new mass without breaking your Harley Davidson.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- They have a chrome finish that makes them classy and attractive
- They allow you to adjust the height by two inches
- They have double coils and use gas pressure that allows for consistent damping
- They are pricey
5. BURLY B28-1006 – Chrome Finish Slammer Kit
If you are a fan of chrome-fitted shocks, Burly B28-1006 will fulfill you. The shocks come in a kit that consists of forks and fork springs. One thing I love about them is how simple they are to fit on a Harley Davidson. With the forks still on the bike, it is very easy to fit the springs. You do not have to be an expert to know where each component goes, and fastening them is also stress-free.
If you have read progressive suspension 422 reviews, you know how important it is to lower the height of the bike when riding on some roads. Burly shocks can lower your rear by 2.5 inches while they do the same on the front by 2 inches. This helps in distributing height equally through a bike for the sake of stability. In addition to this, their price is fair and friendly to first-time riders.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- They are affordable
- Easy to install
- They can lower both the front and rear
- They may not be very strong compared to progressive suspension Harley Davidson
6. HD 772 Blackline Ohlins – Shocks for Harley FLH/FLT Touring 1990-Newer
Do you want shocks that are guaranteed to last for more than five years? Ohlins USA offers five years warranty on the HD 772 Ohlins shocks. The manufacturer has created these shocks in a way that enables them to use pressure from gas and oil to prevent the loss of air. Despite the pressure arising from oil and gas, the two do not mix for efficiency purposes. Therefore, you are assured of riding for a long distance with confidence.
These shocks can fit numerous Harley Davidson models. For example, they can fit in ultras, street glides, and road kings. They are compatible with these motorcycle makes that were manufactured from 1990 to date. If you own any of them, you can spice up your ride with these standard Ohlins shocks and be able to enjoy every bit of the journey.
They are ideal for riding on a Harley in any weather condition. They can withstand very high temperatures and still perform well. HD 772 shocks have been built using a vigorous research and development process. Therefore, their quality is guaranteed, and they can last for a lifetime.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- They are made of high-quality materials that are durable
- They can fit many Harley Davidson models
- They can perform efficiently in harsh conditions
- They are very expensive
7. Factory Spec FS-04505 – Stubby Shocks Sportster Harley Lowering Black
Are you still a big fan of simple gadgets and devices? These FS 04505 may also fit your definition of simple. They come as a pair of shocks and have bolts for tightening them on the motorcycle. The kit is that simple, and you can be able to install them without consulting the manual. By looking at the area where they need to be fitted on the machine, knowing where the bolts need to be fixed is self-explanatory.
They are manufactured by Nallows, a brand that has focused on developing accessories for motorcycles. The specialization indicates that the brand is designed by people who understand what they are doing, and their products are unique.
The shocks weigh only 7.95 pounds. This is very light, and it is within the weight of stock shocks meaning that they do not add bulk to the machine. They are as efficient as 412 Progressive Suspension in that they add stability to a motorcycle because they are 10.5 inches. With increased stability, you can ride for a long distance in a day and not get tired or uncomfortable because the height of your rear is not too high.
The shocks can fit in numerous Harley Sportsters. For example, they are compatible with the Sportster Nighster XL1200N series 2007 to 2012 and Sportster XL883L series 2011 to 2012. They can also fit many other models of Harley Davidson machines comfortably.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- They are compatible with many Harley Davidson Sportster series
- They are simple to install
- They lower your height, hence enabling you to be more stable
- They come with pre-load settings. Therefore, if you carry more weight than was set, you may experience dragging on the road
8. XMT-MOTO – Air Shocks for Harley Davidson Softail
If you are like me, you will be interested in shocks that have more flexibility to give you freedom. XMT-MOTO has taken care of our needs by developing these flexible shocks. The package comes as a complete kit so you may not need to buy anything else to help with the installation. It can fit Harley Davidson models up to 2017.
With this kit, it is possible to adjust the height of your ride to two or three inches up and down. It adjusts lower when all the air is released, and this does not affect your stability on the road. I love this capability of the shocks because it helps me in choosing different heights for different days, depending on my mood. I could also adjust the height when the road that I am riding on calls for such a change.
The stability of these gadgets is enhanced by the quality plates that are made of brass, which contributes to their long life. These plates withstand high pressure without getting damaged, hence enabling the whole system to be able to work under stress. The kit also comes with a valve that allows the system to work as efficiently as it is expected to.
Since these shocks are made by a company that is experienced in developing accessories for motorcycles, you may be assured that they will deliver what they promise. The brand is known for its quality parts. Hence, I would vote for these shocks to maintain the same standard.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- They allow you to adjust the height between 2 to 3 inches up and down
- The shock absorbers work fine despite the height
- The kit comes with a manual that shows how to install the shocks step by step
- The compressor may take time to respond when you adjust the height of the motorcycle
9. HD 022 Ohlins – For 1998-Newer Harley-Davidson Flh/Flt Touring Motorcycles
While on the road with your motorcycle, you want to enjoy every bit of it. You do not want to change from a smooth to a rough surface, and then suddenly your motorcycle wheels come off, or you start trembling vigorously on the seat pad. For a great experience, you need HD 022 Ohlins Shocks on your motorcycle.
The shock absorbers use oil and gas to function efficiently. The gadgets use nitrogen to cause the buildup of pressure between the oil and gas so that the ability to absorb shock is distributed evenly. The pressure, therefore, contributes to the stability of a motorcycle despite the terrain that an individual is riding on. For this, I would be confident about riding on a machine with the Ohlins shocks because I would be assured of staying on the road throughout the ride.
The shocks are flexible in that they can fit any FLH/FLT that has been developed since 1998. Therefore, as long as your Harley Davidson was made in 1998 or later, it can fit perfectly on your motorcycle. Unlike stock shocks that usually come with motorcycles from the factory, the Ohlins shock absorbers are adjustable. They can also be preloaded upon request before being shipped to the buyer. This is a great after-sales service for anyone who wishes to get value for money when purchasing high-quality shocks.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- They offer stability when riding on bumps and potholes, hence making your ride fun
- They have preloaded settings and can be adjusted depending on the weight of the rider and the passenger
- They can fit numerous Harley Davidson motorcycle models
- They may wear away fast if used to carry heavier weights for more hours than the ones that were set on preload settings
What to Look Out For When Buying Harley Davidson Shocks
Getting it right with your motorcycle’s shocks is crucial if you are to achieve optimum suspension. Having the right suspension helps you achieve improved control, comfort and resistance required in improving your riding experience. Therefore, in this section of the article, I offer some essential tips that you should look out for when buying shocks for your bike. To achieve this objective, I will review some of the factors to consider when buying your shocks.
Passenger or No Passenger?
The fact that your bike will regularly have a passenger or not will influence your decision on the kind of springs you purchase. The idea is that in technical terms, a passenger is generally regarded as a load on your bike. This implies depending on the passenger’s weight. The shocks may be strained, especially when riding on rough roads. Therefore, for riders that will be regularly carrying passengers, there is a need to fit their motorcycles with heavy-duty rear shocks that are capable of supporting a heavier load. Also, based on the review above, you can tell of shocks that can evenly distribute the weight of your bike, such as the Progressive Suspension 944 series.
The height of your bike has a significant influence on the experience you will have while riding. When it comes to the weight of your bike, is something that can only be determined by the manufacturer. Therefore, there is a need to at least have control over the height. You want a bike that lets your legs comfortably step on the ground when having to stop, riding on a rough road or when controlling a bend. The shocks installed on your bike will have a huge influence on its height. Therefore, you want springs whose height can be adjusted.
Typically, most of the Harley Davidson’s shocks are flexible enough for such adjustments. However, based on the Progressive Suspension 944 reviews conducted in the previous section, it is evident that certain brands have developed innovative ultra-low shocks. This makes it possible to effectively achieve lower heights on their bike. For example, the Progressive Suspension 422 series has a good reputation in terms of height adjustments.
Stiff or Soft?
The stiffness or softness of your shocks also influences the amount of fun you will have on your bike. This aspect should be influenced by the function and usage of your motorcycle. For example, if you are going to be carrying a passenger or mainly use your bike for outdoor activities, there is a need to have stiffer rear shocks. However, from a general perspective, your guidance is that your front shocks should be soft for better impact absorption while riding. However, the rear shocks should be stiff for better suspension even when riding on rough terrain and also to make it convenient to carry a load on your bike.
If you are like me, the chances are that you like doing any minor repairs on your bike by yourself. I like bonding with my bike. As such, I do not like involving a technician when it comes to maintaining it unless the work demands it. Therefore, when buying my motorcycle’s accessories, the amount of information available on their installation will, to some extent, influence the purchase decision. This information does not have to be necessarily provided on the part’s manual but also on other online platforms such as YouTube videos. However, there is no fuss in having a professional install shock absorbers for you. Doing it yourself is just a matter of personal preference.
For those not familiar with the jargon, bottom out refers to the situation when the bottom side of your motorcycle scraps or touches the road. This is mainly experienced when traveling on rough roads and on the road with high bumps and curbs. As you would have guessed, this is terrible news for your bike, as it will mean unnecessary regular repairs. Therefore, you can overcome this issue by buying shocks at a more significant height. You can also adjust the current ones and raise their level.
How long do Harley shocks last?
After every 30,000 miles, you should inspect your Harley motorcycle shocks. By the 40,000-mile mark, most shocks will need to be rebuilt or replaced.
What size are stock Harley shocks?
The length of your shock will depend on the model, but it will be between 12 and 13 inches. shocks are measured from the center of the upper mount to the center of the lower mount. If you change the height of the shock at one end, you may need to change it at the other end as well.
How do you know if your motorcycle shocks are bad?
One way to tell if your motorcycle shocks are bad is if the bike feels bouncy when you’re riding it. Another way to tell is if you can see the shocks moving around a lot when the bike is in motion.
One more way is to look at the shock itself. If it is leaking oil or compressed air, it is probably bad. If your shocks are bad, it’s best to get them replaced.
What happens if a shock is too long?
If a shock is too long, it may bottom out, which can cause the rear end of the bike to feel like it is kicking up. The bike will also be less stable, and the ride will be less comfortable.
Do shocks improve the ride quality?
It’s not just a smooth ride that shocks and struts provide. They also help you maintain control of your motorcycle.
What Product Suits You Better?
If you are a Harley Davidson enthusiast, you need strong shocks that will match the quality of your bike. Therefore, you have to carefully shop for the best shocks that will fit your motorcycle model and perform the job efficiently. Some of the best models on the market include Ohlins, Progressive, and Burley. All these companies make high-quality shock absorbers that help you to ride smoothly. There are various factors that you need to consider before buying shocks.
Based on the Progressive Suspension 412 reviews above, one of the things you need to consider is the weight that the shocks allow you to carry. Some shocks may not allow you to carry a passenger while others have a weight limit that allows you to carry your weight plus that of another person or a load. Therefore, it is important to check on this so that if it allows extra weight, you may ask the seller to do the preload setting for you before shipping the product.
Another important factor is the height adjustment. You need to be sure of whether you want shocks that will help you in adjusting the height of your bike. Remember that each shock can adjust the height up to a certain level. Therefore, you have to be sure of the level that is suitable for your machine. Other factors include the stiffness of the shocks and the ease of installation. Of course, if you are a technician, you may not mind shocks that require technical ability to install.
However, if you are just a rider with no technical skills, you need to go for the easy-to-install types of shock absorbers. Having been in the game for a while, I wouldn’t mind the installation process because I understand most of the components and I can be able to tell where each goes. It is important to understand all your needs and once you do, go for any of the above shocks that I have reviewed. Are you a Harley Davidson user? How have any of the shocks above worked out for you? Have they improved your riding experience?